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Congressman Garret Graves gives political roundup to bayou business leaders

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Congressman Garret Graves met with business leaders of Terrebonne and Lafourche to give them an update from the Hill.

Graves, R-LA, delivered a speech about politics at the Capitol, energy, and his hopes for the future, Tuesday, April 23, before the South Central Industrial Association. The speech covered the current political division seen in the Republican party, asked the public to support fellow congressmen, the oil sector, and Graves’s future hopes within the House of Representatives.

Graves began his speech by paraphrasing a quote by George Washington which warned about political parties.

“‘Political parties may occasionally advance popular ends, but over time and change, ambitious, cunning, and unprincipled men’ – and women – ‘will usurp the power of the people then assume the reins of government for themselves,'” Graves said. “Even within the Republican party, some of the conflict that’s going on that makes Steve [Scalise] and Mike’s [Johnson] job virtually impossible.”

Capitol Hill

With Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga, on the offense against Speaker of the House Mike Johnson, R-La, Graves was drumming up local support for Johnson’s recent decision to fund U.S. allies.

Johnson pushed through a bill Saturday that would fund $95 billion in foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and other U.S. allies. This move has a portion of the schismed Republican party outraged. Graves said don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the possible.

“Our speaker is doing an incredible job in an absolutely impossible situation. I can tell you all day long why things aren’t conservative enough, but I’m telling you he’s banking the wins that are possible to bank right now.”

Graves said lawmaking takes compromise. Criticizing and denying a bill are easy, he said, but if you want a bill to pass you need a majority vote. Each member of Congress gets a single vote and each vote carries the same weight. Each member of Congress has their own goals and deals have to be made to get any work done.

“No one gets to come in and declare themselves ‘this is what we are going to do.’ There are 535 people in Congress, and believe me, some of those people are absolutely crazy,” he said. “But you know what, they were elected just like I was. As crazy as I think they may be, their vote is just as powerful as mine.”

Graves’s Future

According to Graves, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure is likely to have a new chairperson in January. Graves has been vocal about wanting to fill that seat and this instance was no exception.

The Committee on Committees, also known as the Steering Committee, would vote on who would fill that seat and the House Majority Leader, as well as the Speaker of the House have oversized votes in the decision: Scalise, the House Majority Leader, R-La, would have four, and Johnson would have two.

Graves said that the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has jurisdiction over roads, bridges, ports, airports, pipelines, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and FEMA disaster preparation. These are incredibly important to Louisiana, he added.

“This committee, if you added energy to it, would basically be the south Louisiana portfolio,” he said. “It would be an amazing opportunity for us to have the pen and actually draft the laws that have such an impact on us.”

He said Louisiana has a tremendous amount of engineering experience, and named many local officials who worked on the Morganza to the Gulf Project. This knowledge and efficiency could be brought to the Army Corps of Engineers and benefit the rest of the country.

But Graves has uncertainty at home after new maps created a second Black district and dismantled Graves’s district in the process.

Graves endorsed Jeff Landry’s opponent in last year’s governor race, and Landry won. The lawmaker has told the USA Network he believes the new map is unconstitutional, and he expects a decision on the appeal to be forthcoming this week.

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According to Graves, the current administration is actively pushing back on U.S. Oil production. That leaves an opening in the market that allows countries like Russia and Iran to fill. According to Graves, this comes to the tune of $65 billion for Iran and $105 billion for Russia.

Oil is projected to increase 50% over the next 50 years, he said, and America produces it the cleanest of any other nation. To remove the United States from that equation is a detriment to both national security and environmental security.

He accused President Joe Biden’s administration of stopping production of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

“During the Jimmy Carter administration there were 100 times more acres of oil and gas that were leased. One hundred times more acres of oil and gas were put out for energy production than we’ve seen under this president,” Graves said. “Look, I’ve never in my life heard anyone say ‘bring back that Jimmy Carter energy policy,’ but I’m tempted right now.”

“This is not in America’s interest, this is not in our environment’s interest, and it’s absolutely not in the interest of world peace,” he said.

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